METRO MANILA VS METRO DAVAO: A TALE OF TWO GREAT CITIES
It is almost of the same size. Except that one is situated in the northern island of the country, in Luzon, while the other is down south, in Mindanao. Both are considered the effective capital of their respective domain. Both have similarities and a few differences. All else considered, it is almost the same.
Comparing or engaging the two metropolises into some kind of a comparative analysis may be a bit prejudiced but it is serendipitous to a certain extent. Personally, I could only express biases. Others argue that it is like comparing an apple to an orange. But nonetheless both belonged to the same genus, hence their compatibility.
Dan Brown’s novel “Inferno” cited Manila as “gates of Hell.” There were howls, protests and denunciation when it was revealed. It came like a drizzle. As soon as the traffic at EDSA filled the brim, the commuters themselves pledged that they are not at the gates but in Hell already!
A few months later, tourism guides from developed countries including surveys of international airlines concluded that Davao is the 5th safest city in the world. The information has not sunk in yet in the consciousness of the people; another news dispatch was made announcing that Davao is indeed the safest city in the world. We are not talking here of local news. Not regional or zonal but international. To have achieved this accomplishment is something of a mean feat. Not too long ago, Davao was killing fields and since then has leapt several folds to claim a glorious accolade.
A sentimental place
I was a bit saddened by the decline of Manila because I was born there. It was in this place where I received my education, got my first employment and enjoyed blissful friendship within its environs. I had the most respectable neighborhood and had a reputable bunch of boyhood chums.
The best schools in the country and the best medical facilities in the country are situated in Manila. Most businesses have their central offices in this place, including national government itself. For those in the countryside, including some denizens of Davao, to reach Manila is already having a taste of abroad. Hence, a lot of ambitious people would rather try their luck in Manila. As the saying goes “if you survive in Manila, you can survive everywhere!” My distinct advantage, if at all that significant, is that I am a bona fide resident of Metro Manila. My other plus sign is that I have a small plot in Davao I call “home OF the aged.”
The comparison begins
The best however attracts the worst. Hence, Metro Manila is not only regularly visited by tropical hurricane as a natural occurrence but has been cramped and congested as a consequence of local migration. In a brief spell of time, it became too contained and overcrowded and has lost its spatial integrity. It is polluted, crime ridden and unhealthy to live within its suburban areas. Yet there is no respite ahead. Metro Manila is still bursting with construction. It is expanding vertically through high rise structures. But on the ground, there is swelling not only of waters during flash floods but from thousands of vehicles at any time of the day.
Still in all, Metro Manila is for toughies, they who munch and subsist in challenges.
Davao on the other hand is expanding its road system and has continually accommodated its traffic flow from moderate to light. Driving in this part of the country is a pleasure. There is no such thing as heavy traffic unless there is an accident, which is unlikely. There are no storms except that the volume of rainfall is far greater than that of Manila. It rains in the afternoon up until evening. In the morning up ‘til noon, the sun shines. This is routine and almost a natural recourse whole year round. There is no such thing as dry and wet spell. It has been said that 2 weeks without rain is considered drought already. Hence, Davao and the entire environs have healthy and lush vegetative condition. One can see green everywhere. Fruits are abundant. Pollution is unheard of. People are healthy and strong, honest and reliable. Crime is minimal and there is no problem in employment.
For retirees and those with sensitive feelings, conservative as you were, Davao is your niche.
I love Manila but if one prefers health like I do, because it is by definition what wealth is all about, I would rather spend the rest of the day in Davao.